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Archive for the tag “children”

Life is changing…fast

Time is flying by and my little boy will be three on Wednesday!  My little girl is turning one next month and I am going back to school in June.  Yes, that’s right.  I got accepted to nursing school.  It is an accelerated program so it’s only 15 months, but I suspect that it is going to be a very busy and tough year and three months.  Needless to say, not only has this blog sort of taken a back burner already, but it will become even more so.

While I still have some time I have been teaching my boy (and my daughter who is constantly with me too) about gardening, plant growth and reproduction.  He has taken to it and has become very skilled at weeding and finding worms.  It is really great to see how much he loves the earth.  This year we made a trip to the nursery to buy plants for a planter.  His favorite color is yellow, so naturally he wanted only yellow plants.  I had to help him round out his color palate a bit, but it was a really great bonding moment.  I also found some time, especially with the amazing weather we’ve been having, to take some more pictures.

Enjoy, and I will write when I get a free moment

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Our first child who loves us more in the spring and summer when we are outdoors

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Our first apple blossoms!

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Garden pictures

I have been super busy trying to get my feet under me and a handle on dealing with two kids. Meal times are the worst. It always seems that while I’m trying to get a meal ready for my son, who is melting down, the baby decides to start screaming because she wants to eat. Exhausting! Also, my son, who is definitely a 2-year-old now, has developed an obstinate streak. It’s particularly difficult to deal with when the baby is also crying. I understand that it’s a tough transition for him, and I really wish I could spend more one-on-one time with him right now.  On the positive side, he is very gentle with her.

I have managed to get out in the garden in between rain storms. The garden is the one place that will keep my son happy and busy and I can wear the baby and keep her happy. So here here’s to the garden, which always brings happiness.

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ABCs

I used to be on such a good posting schedule, and now, since I still haven’t figured out my photo software, I have lost track of what days I was posting. Oh well, I suppose it is more organic this way.

In one of my previous posts I discussed my love of reading and the library. My son and I go to the library at least once a week if not more. This last time we were there we picked out a few new books for him to check out, one of which was an ABC book. Most of them he hasn’t been interested in, but this one was all about food. He loves it, but it makes him hungry. When he was a few months old I started an ABC book for him using fruits and vegetables. Since we have to return the book soon, I have been trying to finish the one I started. I think I will see what it will cost me to have it printed and bound at Kinko’s (now FedEx), but I’m kinda leaning towards Shutterfly or possibly Costco. We’ll see.

Here’s a sample of what I’ve put together.  The formatting still needs some work as well as some of the color schemes, but you get the idea =)

A
B
C
D

Computer Success and Play-Do!

Success!  I finally called Olympus and they sent me a new program which works splendidly.  It has a lot more editing power so it’s going to take me a bit to figure out, but I am so happy to have a way to get my pictures onto the computer now.  Phew.

So…here is the post that I was planning on posting when this whole mess began.

Once again our weather has turned cooler. Not that I’m complaining, but a little warmer weather would be nice. However, I have great hopes for after school starts. It always seems to warm up to torment the kids as they head back their classrooms. This weather though is very nice for our workers who are replacing our siding, so I can’t complain. They work better in cooler weather. What it doesn’t help is my routine with my son. Normally we spend a great deal of time in the gardens playing in the dirt and yanking out weeds. With the construction that’s just not possible. We’ve gone to the park, the library, and the grocery store which is all part of our normal morning routine. It is the after-nap hours, before my husband gets home, that the construction wreaks havoc with. So today, I had a brilliant idea…Play do! I posted a recipe for homemade play do in a previous post and today we made it. It was messy, gloriously fun and kept my son occupied for a good hour or more. At first he tried to eat it, but eventually he understood that it was to play with. We had a pencil, and a plastic utensil set to make our creations. Here is what he (I only did he hair) came up with.

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I think if he might have a future in sculpting.

Happy Playing!

There’s a First Time for Everything

Yesterrday we left town for a vacation to the Bay Area. I love visiting. I have so many good memories and some of my closest girlfriends still live there. Sometimes I’ll hear a song on the radio and it will trigger a memory and it makes me feel carefree and happy.

Anyway, tomorrow, I am leaving my son with my husband and in-laws for two nights! Yikes. The longest I have ever left him was six hours when he was only a couple of months old and we were looking for houses. I haven’t left him for more than two hours since and never overnight. I’m sure everything will be fine, but it does make me nervous. I hope he will be okay without me, but at the same time I hope that he misses me. While my husband and in-laws will be running around chasing after a toddler, I will be hanging out with my girlfriends. Friday night will be catch up on everything night and Saturday is the main event.

For the past three years my friend and dance extraordinaire Melissa Rutz has put on a west coast swing dance in San Francisco. It is always in July and previously I have always been consumed with cherry harvest. This year, I finally get to go. I am looking forward to seeing all of my California friends, and hanging out sans kid.

If you are in the SF area and would like more information, you can check out Melissa’s web page: http://www.melissarutz.com/swingalicious.html. My good friends Courtney and Sean are teaching the lesson and Rachel, my extra special good friend (she doesn’t like the term best friend, and anyway that spot belongs to my husband, so she’s extra special) is DJing along with Melissa, so the music is going to be extra awesome. It’s going to be one fun night!

My Food Journey

Throughout my short life, my relationship with food has gone through many stages. I dislike the label “foodie” and therefore refuse to call myself as such. Also, I have never had an eating disorder, but there was a point when food didn’t matter to me.

When I was a kid, I ate to sustain myself. End of story. I was too busy with all of my other interests to be bothered with enjoying eating the food my parents were making me eat. Not that they cooked bad food, although the meat was like shoe leather, I just wasn’t all that interested. There were always moments of pure enjoyment when my mom or grandma would make something I loved. Onigiri and teriyaki chicken, Chow Mein with sekihan, tuna noodle casserole (I have no idea why, but it could be the addictive factor of potato chips, noodles, and a creamy sauce), and beef with Bok choy over rice come to mind. Mostly though, the food didn’t matter. By the way, dessert doesn’t count, because what kid (or adult) doesn’t love a little sugar?

As a young adult I had a somewhat better relationship with food. The first two years of college I lived in a dorm and ate whatever they cooked, for the most part. I had more choices, but nothing helped change my view of food. We are talking about dorm food after all. My third year I moved to an apartment and was thus forced to start cooking. I could boil and egg and knew how to make a few dishes and therefore was comfortable knowing I wouldn’t starve. Besides, just off campus there were a dozen restaurants that catered to the poor college student. One of them, a Korean place, made really good beef bulgogi. To this day it is still one of the best I’ve had. During this time I dated a guy who liked to cook and was quite good at it, although now that I think about it, nothing really stood out. What I do remember eating was a lot of grilled chicken salads because he wanted to lose a few pounds. I did, however, learn how to peel garlic.

After I graduated I moved down to California to pursue a Master’s degree. I became friends with several people in the food science department, and boy did they like to eat and drink. I think this might have been the start of my appreciation of food, but I was still reluctant. My parents would send me grocery gift cards and tell me to not skimp on food. I am thrifty by nature, but they didn’t want me to starve because I was unwilling to spend too much money. It was during this first year that I met my husband. As with all serious relationships, they change you. My husband loves good food and dessert. When I met him he was still coming into his own food-wise. This was good timing since I was just at the outer fringes of discovering the power of food. However, I think it wasn’t until I moved back to my home state for work that I really developed an appetite for good quality food.

I started working as a research assistant on pears and sweet cherries. We worked closely with the growers and that’s when I started to understand the business of growing food. Not subsidized crops, but high-value crops. I began to see how difficult it was to make money, find good labor, and the chain in which the fruit travels before it ever reaches market. When I was in California I often wondered why the produce was so bad since they produce so much good vegetables and fruit. What I learned was that the best quality was sent for export, where the money is. During this time my mom started getting really into food and began trying new recipes. Since I would visit often (my husband was still in California at the time) we would often experiment. It was also during this period of time that I started to get more interested in cooking. After we got married, bought our first house, and got dish network, I stumbled upon the food network. They must be doing something right because it whetted my creative appetite. Armed with a good set of pots and pans, kitchen knives, a couple of cook books and the food network, we started cooking up a storm.

Since then, my husband and I have grown to appreciate food so much more than where we began. I have such a different view-point of food and have learned that food can really bring people together. Price, while still important, isn’t secondary to quality of the product. I have learned to evaluate the ingredients and what goes into producing the food and to really value what I put in my body.

Now that I have a child, I don’t want him to grow up without appreciating food. Last summer, before he started solid food, I went to the farmer’s market to buy the best fruit and vegetables so I could to make my own baby food. I froze it, and when it was time, he loved it. Now he eats everything and loves everything. Sometimes I worry that I’ve created a food snob. But overall, I think it’s better for him to learn to appreciate food and not just eat to quiet the hunger pains. I have to admit that sometimes I eat just to quiet those hunger pains. Whether it is be because I’m just too tired to cook or I don’t know what I feel like eating, I’m not always certain, but I figure that’s okay…as long as I am setting my son up to have a good relationship with food.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

I ventured out with another mom last week for a trip to OMSI. I remember field trips to OMSI when I was a kid and I always loved it. Of course, I’ve always been a science geek.

The museum is huge with lots of different exhibits, a planetarium, and huge circular theater. The theater is an experience, but if you get motion sickness, it can be a bit much.  While most of the museum caters to older kids and adults, they have a large area for kids five and under. It allows the kids to learn while playing and help explore all things science. It’s a great way for kids to let loose, experiment and have fun all within a fairly contained area. We had a blast and now that our son is walking full-time, we’ll definitely go back.

Here is a recipe for home-made play dough from the OMSI website:

From OMSI website

The Ingredients


1 cup salt
2 cups flour
3 tbs cream of tarter
2 tbs oil
2 cups water
Food coloring or liquid watercolor (a few drops)
Glitter (optional)


The Steps


  • Mix the dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir well. DO NOT ADD GLITTER YET!
  • Mix the water, oil, and food coloring in a separate bowl.
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while stirring
  • Stir until you get a smooth consistency
  • Cook in microwave on high for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove the crusty playdough from around the edge of the bowl with a fork
  • Let dough cool, and stir dough for about one minute, breaking up the lumps
  • Return to microwave and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove the crusty playdough from around the edge of the bowl with a fork.
  • Let cool, and knead dough for about one minute, breaking up the lumps
  • Cook until dough is no longer sticky, about one minute
  • Spread out on cookie sheet or tray to aid the cooling process
  • Knead in the glitter and have fun!

Notes About Safety


DO NOT PUT GLITTER IN THE MICROWAVE!

Be very careful, the dough will be extremely hot after cooking, and cooking times vary depending on the microwave.

Who Needs Toys?

Is it parents or kids who want all the toys?

My parents came over last night and brought a canister filled with old cookie cutters (the plastic kind). We used them as kids to make Christmas decorations and cookies. Anyway, my son got a hold of that container and spent the next 45 minutes opening and closing the container. He would remove the cookie cutters, replace them, then put the lid on, ask us to help him open the container and repeat.

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He did this for longer than he’s played with any of his toys. I wonder what would happen if I removed most (because I can’t justify removing all of them) toys? I wonder what he would create.

A Vase of Flowers

I was walking around the garden yesterday morning taking stalk of what is blooming.  I love seeing everything opening, bursting with color and fragrance.  My son loves being outside with me and his new favorite thing is to point to a flower to be taken to so he can smell them.  It is the cutest thing ever!  Anyway, after seeing all the flowers in bloom I couldn’t resist and had to cut some to bring inside.  I like playing with colors and this is what I came up with:

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Now my son points to the vase of flowers every morning so that I will take him over to smell them.  It brightens my morning just as much as the flowers themselves.

Keeping Baby Out

My son is very curious, which I am thankful for, usually.  However, he also seems to think that ever time I ask him to stop his behavior, that it’s a game.  Yes, I  know that he’s not even a year old yet, but I believe that babies understand more than we give them credit for.  We, being new parents, were not as prepared as we should have been for his adept ability at getting into two cabinets that we didn’t want him in.  We hurriedly bought some baby proofing from Amazon.

However, they were not long enough to fit the two doors we needed locked the most.  These however, are great for the bathrooms.  So, while I was getting tired of constantly having to guard the doors and him thinking “ooh, it’s another fun game” I decided to rig something.

It’s not the most attractive set up, but it does the job and I haven’t had to worry about him getting into the cabinets.  I know that there are several products on the market created by mothers in similar situation.  Which got me thinking, I wonder what else I have in my house that I could turn into a creative, genius, simplistic idea for a product.  Probably not much that hasn’t already been thought of already.  But I’m going to keep my eyes peeled and my creative eye opened just in case.

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